Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New River

There’s nothing like a canoe trip to put a strain on a relationship.

Neither Wyatt nor I have much experience with boats. We took a four-hour trip down the New River last Sunday, and the fact that we finished it without cursing each other or threatening to move out gives me faith that our marriage is solid.

I’ve seen other people steer canoes, but I couldn’t communicate what I’ve seen to Wyatt. I couldn’t understand why when I’d call out “There’s a rock!” we’d head right for it and hit it. I found myself trying to steer from the front by switching sides with the paddle and paddling harder. I got cranky and pissed off. I was unpleasant.

So then we switched places, and I found I wasn’t any better off because Wyatt is quite a bit larger than I am. His weight in the front, and the fact that I couldn’t see around him, made things difficult. In fact, it made things worse, and we started floating in circles. So on top of being frustrated, I was embarrassed. And when Wyatt started offering me tips on how to row more effectively, I thought I would burst a blood vessel.

We switched places again and things went a little better. The countryside up there is beautiful. There’s an awful lot of development going on, though. It's no fun to look at new construction when you're supposed to be out in the wilderness.

I’m thankful that Wyatt is much more patient and gracious than I am, and has the ability to take off the frustration-tinted glasses and see reality in a non-negatively charged fashion. “We did well, considering we didn’t know what we were doing and it was our first time,” he said, and that inspired me to relax a little. I realized, hey, we’re out of town, we don’t know anybody here, nobody’s here to criticize or evaluate our canoe performance. Why was I being such a perfectionist? I don’t know, but I think I do it a lot. At a subconscious level, I believe scouts from professional teams are evaluating me as I do all things, and I feel compelled to get super-serious about everything from doing the dishes to finding the most efficient route to drive across town.

There was a full moon Saturday night, and lights from fireflies winked in the silvery darkness at the campground. The camp ground was full, but with quiet folks thankfully. The sound of the river made for a flawless sleep.

I love this flower we saw on the bank. If anybody can tell me what it is, let me know.


Anonymous said...

I love your hippie moments. They remind me of the acid trips my son (now methodone/heroin adict) used to sing about when he was "over the clouds". If you're high when you write these musings, it shows. If you're not high, , getting stoned might not be such a bad idea. M

Anonymous said...

Ya know, me and my first husband had a similar experience in one of them work camps set up by FDR in '39. We was pretty well set in them days. I gathered fresh water fro a nearby creek. The other "wives" (nobody called them sluts back then, seein as how they wasn't married. Well, along came WWII. the rest, as they say is history. But YES, I DOOOO love nature!!!!!!!!!!!!! as if......M